Developing leadership skills in your child can enable them to gain confidence, be proactive about their lives and support them in becoming expert communicators. Leadership skills encompass problem solving, empathetic listening, collaborative working, and decisive decision making – all skills which will support your child as they grow emotionally and encourage success both academically and personally.
Children learn what they live. A great way to support them in the development of leadership skills is to model leadership yourself. Not everyone feels like a natural leader so if you are concerned this area is not your strength, do not worry! All it takes is to talk to your child about what you are doing and why. Explain the reason you are popping to the shops or baking a cake. Explaining to your child why you are doing something, shows clear decision-making and ownership over your choices; key features of being a strong leader.
Creating opportunities for your children to practice the skills of leadership is a great way for them to strengthen these skills. You could enrol them into a sports club or after-school activity which will help develop their confidence, and communication skills and create opportunities for personal growth. You could also let them plan a family day out, providing them with the chance to make decisions, give reasons for their choice and encourage everyone in the family to join in.
Being able to communicate effectively at different levels with different people is an important life skill and clear communication demonstrates assertiveness and good listening skills. You can develop communication in your child by talking regularly as a family. Perhaps use mealtimes as an opportunity to share events and feelings of the day. You could also play word games, have fun conversations, or read books together. Talk about body language and open listening. By communicating effectively, you can inspire others which is what strong leadership is all about.
When faced with a difficult decision or problem, it can be tricky to know what to do. Children need to have their concerns heard so they feel validated. Together you can then address the problem. Allow your child to come up with some ideas for overcoming the situation. Supporting your child in planning a strategy to overcome a problem or achieve a goal and reminding them that taking risks and accepting new challenges helps them to grow, embeds leadership skills and promotes their self-confidence. They will also feel a sense of achievement when they reach their goal or learn what more to do to achieve it if they are not quite there yet – a great learning and leadership moment!
Some aspects of being a leader can seem daunting. Encourage your child to imagine the best outcome for themselves. Ask them to picture themselves doing the thing that seems frightening: Presenting their homework, giving a talk, or planning an event at school. Visualising achieving their goals, whatever they may be, opens a conversation about the fears surrounding aspects of the task ahead and is a great way to overcome nerves. It promotes a “can do” attitude and strengthens positive self-talk.
Our Masterclass focuses on 'every day leadership', helping children to reflect on their strengths and how to impact others.
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This article was written by Frances Waller, Character Education Team Executive at Role Models. Fran has over 13 years teaching experience in both the state & independent sectors. She has also completed an MSc in Psychology.
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